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Andrew Metz '91
Andrew Metz '91

CBS 60 Minutes Producer Metz '91 Speaks on Middle East

By Vige Barrie  |  Contact Erol Balkan
Posted May 6, 2010
Tags 1991 Economics Erol Balkan Government Middle East
“I don’t feel worthy of speaking to an economics class. I was a history major,” began CBS 60 Minutes producer and Hamilton alumnus Andrew Metz ’91. Formerly a reporter with Newsday covering the Middle East, Metz shared his experiences and observations on the region in Professor of Economics Erol Balkan’s Political Economics of the Middle East class on Tuesday, May 5.

Metz had been a student in the same class taught by Balkan during the first Gulf War. “The Gulf War and this class made things come together in a way I hadn’t known before.” The course had such a significant effect on him that he chose to write his thesis on Zionism as an intellectual concept and its influence in the Middle East. After graduation he became a reporter, eventually spending nearly a decade at Newsday before joining 60 Minutes.

In his informal presentation, Metz described his evolution as a journalist moving from “theory and preconceptions” to reality and from an inexperienced foreign correspondent to a seasoned reporter. In recounting some of his experiences in Gaza, he described extraordinary incongruities and “mind bending” inflexibility of various factions. “If you aren’t paying attention to the story of the Middle East, you aren’t living in the 21st century,” he said as he discussed the complexities of the issues.

Obviously excited about his work on 60 Minutes, Metz explained that producers are always searching for unique and relevant story ideas. A small team of three or four individuals work in a collaborative process to transform ideas into visual, character-driven segments. He showed the class a short video of some of the most exciting moments on the show in recent years, a kind of summary of some of the last decade’s significant events and milestones.

“I became infected, fascinated with the culture and epic story of the Middle East, particularly Israel and the Palestinian areas. It’s a place living in conflict, in constant flux. You feel it vibrate. It is an epic story of suffering and hope,” Metz said at the end of the class. Recounting how Balkan kept “popping up” as his career unfolded to remind him of the Middle East “to keep him on track,” Metz told the students, “You are lucky to have this guy.”

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